Many people have asked about different techniques how to meditate. There are a variety of different ways, but the basic principles are universal.
Meditation in some form or another seems to be a part of most cultures. The methods and techniques are different, of course, but the practice of meditation in some form is found almost everywhere.
The most common techniques of meditation as a formal practice most likely developed somewhere in the East. India is the most probable birthplace of formal meditation techniques, although various forms of meditation were very common in places like China and Japan.
Transcendental Meditation was introduced to the West in 1958 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a spiritual guru from India. This popular technique of meditation first gained mass exposure in the 1960's when Maharishi was visited by the Beatles. This method of meditation employs the use of a mantra or “sacred sound" that is given by a guru or teacher.
The practice of meditation usually involves sitting quietly in an environment where you will not be disturbed or distracted. Most people begin by closing their eyes and focusing on their breathing while allowing their body to relax.
Many people associate meditation with sitting on the ground in the “lotus" position with their legs crossed. The most important thing, however, is to be comfortable. Many people like to sit in a chair with their feet on the floor. Most experts think that it's important to be sitting erect while meditating. Lying down to meditate can often result in falling asleep instead and missing out on the true benefits that meditation offers.
It's important to allow enough time for your mind and body to relax when first beginning to meditate. At first, you simply follow the rhythm of your breathing. Don't try to force anything. As you are “watching" your breath your attention is on the process of inhaling and exhaling.
When distracting thoughts enter your mind - and it is “when, " not “if" these distracting thoughts come - it is best to just observe and accept them without judgment. Allow them to move through your conscious mind without focusing on them or allowing them to pull you away from your meditation practice. Trying to “resist" these kinds of thoughts will only give them more power and draw your attention away from the central purpose of the meditation.
Meditation can last from a few minutes to many hours. It is best to keep your meditation times short at first. It is seldom beneficial to meditate for more than an hour, even after years of experience. You should focus on quality, not quantity.
Many people experience an increased sense of awareness or “mindfulness" during and after meditating. They also often experience a greater sense of peace and wellbeing as distractions fall away. The results of meditation can be quite dramatic.
The benefits of meditation are well substantiated by modern science. Over six hundred academic and scientific studies have been done at more than two hundred independent research institutions in thirty-five countries. All attest to the physical, spiritual and psychological benefits of regular meditation.
Although the techniques how to meditate vary slightly from one culture to the next, the basic principles of relaxation and mindfulness are universal. Meditation is an excellent way to handle the stress of modern life and to regain the balance that many of us are missing.
Although meditation does not require formal training or education, the more you study the different methods and techniques available to you, the more you can benefit from this amazing tool.
Tim Wright, Ph. D. is a freelance writer and busy internet entrepreneur. Visit his website at http://decisionsuccess.com
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